The Sea of Tranquility is a stunning debut novel by Katja Millay, who has crafted a first-person, present-tense tapestry between two characters. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it (and get past the initial annoyance at the prolific use of semi-crude language), but like the tide, I was inexorably pulled into the universe and I fell into step with the characters as they navigate their way out of their destiny to newfound futures.
She’s got no friends except her running shoes and spatula. She confides in notebooks and waits for the moment she can strike back at the one who murdered her and stole away everything that made her life, made her someone “real”.
Josh knows only death and loss; at the age of eight, he lost his mother and sister. By 17, he lives alone, as everyone else who he ever cared about is dead or “gone”. Everyone knows his story, so he’s gratefully left alone. He finds solace in craftsmanship, in the familiar activities of past connections with those who are gone, and in his routine.
Nastya comes in to his life, uninvited, and disrupts his rhythms. Yet even without speaking to each other, they connect on levels that no one else can fathom, and as they open up to one another, a new cadence to their lives is born.
However, the past can only remain locked up and shoved under beds for so long before it resurfaces. When it does, will it destroy the fragile balance of hopes and love crafted with broken mosaic pieces and crazy glue that is their life together? Or will love find its footing and allow for futures worth seeking?
The Sea of Tranquility is a bittersweet, tender, honest love story, capturing the reality of two people who have known so much pain that all the joys in the world might not be enough to make them whole again, but who find in each other what might well be soul mates, and their delicate endeavors to build together, to share, to discover happiness, is exquisitely crafted.
I loved the characterizations, from the artist who captures a dozen different faces of the same person to the Ken Doll with a sweet side. (The paperback comes with a great reading guide, too.)
This is the kind of book that made me fall in love with writing in the first place, that drives me every day to write my own stories so that I may give to other people the beautiful experience—the joy, the tenderness, the sadness, the kinship—that stories like The Sea of Tranquility gifted me.
You may preorder The Sea of Tranquility, due for release on June 4th, 2013.